Friday, July 27, 2012

>Pycnonotus priocephalus (Grey-headed Bulbul)

Grey-headed Bulbul

Grey-headed Bulbul
Conservation status

Near Threatened (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Species:P. priocephalus
Binomial name
Pycnonotus priocephalus
(Jerdon, 1839)
Brachypus priocephalus
Brachypodius poiocephalus
Micropus phaeocephalus
Microtarsus poioicephalus
Ixos fisquetti
The Grey-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus priocephalus) is a member of the bulbul family ofpasserine birds. It is endemic to the Western Ghats of south-west India, found from Goa south to Tamil Nadu, at altitudes up to 1200m. It is found in dense reeds or thickets mainly near rivers and swampy areas inside forests. They have a distinctive call that reveals their presence inside dense vegetation that makes them hard to spot. Their taxonomic position within the bulbuls is not clear.


"Brachypus parvicephalus" from Jerdon'sIllustrations of Indian Ornithology (1847)
This bulbul is resident in moist broadleaved evergreen forest with bamboo and dense undergrowth. Its plumage is olive-green, with a medium-grey on the crown head, nape and throat. The forehead is yellow-green. The back, wings are olive green becoming lighter towards the vent. The rump has yellowing green feathers edged in black giving a barred appearance. The flanks are dark and grey edged. The undertail coverts are gray. The beak is greenish and grey while the legs are pinkish yellow. The iris is distinctly bluish white. The tail is grey on the central feathers (the shaft being black), the outer ones are black and are broadly tipped with grey. Both sexes are similar but juveniles have the head dark olive with the yellow on the forehead duller. (Length 143-152mm; head 33-35mm; tail 74-77mm)
Found singly or in small groups. Breeds from January to June with a peak in April. The nest is a typical platform placed inside a low bush. The typical clutch is one egg or sometimes two eggs that are incubated for 12 to 14 days. The nestlings leave the nest after 11 to 13 days. The eggs are pale pink to lavender and flecked in red, more densely on the broad end. Both parents take part in incubation and feeding.Feeds mainly on fruits. Call is a sharp chraink.

Taxonomy and systematics

Illustration from the Voyage autour du monde exécuté pendant les années 1836 et 1837 sur la corvette La Bonite commandée par M. Vaillant (The voyage of the Bonita)
The species was described by Thomas Jerdon under the name of Brachypus priocephalus but said to have been "emended" in error by Edward Blyth to Brachypodius poiocephalus and the confusion carried forward in literature.
The call is distinct in having a single syllable unlike those of the core Pycnonotus genus members.The genusPycnonotus as currently defined has been identified as polyphyletic and the genus placement for this species may change in the future. This species has not been used in recent molecular phylogeny studies of the group.

Behaviour and ecology

The breeding season is mainly between January to May. The build their nest over a period of a week. The nests are made with vines and grasses or leaves. Many nests in a study in the Silent Valley National park were found to be made on saplings of Syzygium species or in reeds of Ochlandra travancorica. The typical clutch was two eggs which were incubated for about 14 days. The young fledge after about 12 days. Eggs are sometimes destroyed and eaten by the palm squirrels (Funambulus tristriatus).

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